Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

Post news stories and home video release announcements here.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline
User avatar

talkieking

  • Posts: 4
  • Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:28 pm
  • Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 3:57 am

Tiffany Pictures all talking, all color drama Mamba, starring Jean Hersholt, Eleanor Boardman and Ralph Forbes will be shown in the US for the first time in over 80 years. The event will take place at Cinefest 32, Syracuse, New York, March 15-18 2012.
The re-discoverers Paul Brennan (Aus) and Jonas Nordin (Swe) will be flown in especially to present Mamba at the festival.
Hope to see you all there!
Image
Offline

Jay Salsberg

  • Posts: 186
  • Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:20 pm
  • Location: Whitesboro, NY

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 9:00 am

While I'm clearing my calendar to attend Cinefest, the bad news is that this will not be a film print. I've heard through the grapevine that Cinefest could only get an archival DVD. Still, that's better than nothing.
Offline
User avatar

talkieking

  • Posts: 4
  • Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:28 pm
  • Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 9:11 am

Well, the digital print that will be shown at Cinefest is the only print that is available today. The digital work in progress print is the only print that has the synchronized soundtrack. You will not see Mamba again until it is properly restored.
I don't think you will be disappointed.
Offline

Jay Salsberg

  • Posts: 186
  • Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:20 pm
  • Location: Whitesboro, NY

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 3:01 pm

Oh, I know I won't be disappointed. I would watch MAMBA projected through a cinder block!

But there are many arch-purists out there who will whine and gripe because it's not 16 or 35mm.
Offline
User avatar

Gagman 66

  • Posts: 4237
  • Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:18 pm

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 5:54 pm

:) Good news. Thanks for keeping us posted. Err, So is that a Colorized still? I know that the film was in Two-Color Technicolor, but this appears colorized.

Any chance you guys could get the newly restored Constance Talmadge EAST IS WEST? Probably to late for this years event, but Elif said that it has not been screened anywhere yet in the world publicly.
Offline
User avatar

Changsham

  • Posts: 595
  • Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:34 pm

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 6:22 pm

Is the digital print derived from a 16mm copy? I saw MAMBA in October last year and the colours were quite muted, dull and the picture was fuzzy like I would expect from a 16mm print.
Offline

Jay Schwartz

  • Posts: 116
  • Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:54 am
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 01, 2012 6:34 pm

If we are casting votes, I'll side with those who wish Cinefest to remain as much on film as possible -- now more than ever.

I, and several other people I spoke to, were very disappointed that a prime evening slot last year was devoted to a poor quality (DVD) video projection of Vitaphone shorts. Now, I enjoy Vitaphone shorts as much as the next Cinefester, and am thankful for the fine work done by the Vitaphone Project in bringing these wonderful and important films back to public view.

However, much of this is material now available for purchase. I've not tracked if last year's Cinefest program has come out yet on the Warner's Archive DVD series, but it seems inevitable that they will sooner or later. And if not, there are plenty of others that will or are out already.

It was especially ironic that in the introduction of that Vitaphone program, a donor was thanked who contributed extra money so that 35mm prints could be struck -- of the specific shorts that we were then shown via poor-quality DVD projection. Why weren't they shown in that morning's 35mm program? Or if they were perhaps not ready yet, why not wait until this year's 35mm program? I'm sure those 35mm prints won't get used very often, and if they don't get shown at something like Cinefest, why make them at all?

There are still lots of interesting 16mm prints in archives' and collectors' hands that are available to events like Cinefest. Let's keep the reels turning as long as we can, and not adopt the philosophy that many rep/art houses have: "Nobody knows the difference how we show it." Many of us know and many of us care. It's a big part of why we travel from far away to meet in Syracuse each year.

This is slated to be the last year of 35mm film distribution. That's all the more reason to keep the FILM viewing experience alive at Cinefest and similar gatherings. Nothing else looks like film, not even state-of-the-art "D-Cinema" projection (which is in a different league than what was used at Cinefest for the Vitaphones last year). THE ARTIST notwithstanding, silent and black and white films were other technologies deemed obsolete by the real world, but we know better and keep that experience alive for new audiences. The look of real film projection is no less important to preserve.

I think DVDs are great -- for using at home.
Offline

Jay Schwartz

  • Posts: 116
  • Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:54 am
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostFri Mar 02, 2012 11:20 am

I sure wish someone would respond to my repsonse, so we would all learn how we all feel about this issue, which I feel is important and only going to become more so as time goes on.

Just to be clear, like all of us who attend Cinefest, I am extremely grateful for all of the hard work the staff puts into this amazing event. I hope it can last forever, and I do my best to recruit new audience to keep it healthy.

That said, I assume the Cinefest organizers want to know what we want from Cinefest, rather than silently have our interest diminish over changes (or non-changes) we don't like. This seems like a good forum for that.

So what do you think? If offering an opinion, please note if you attend Cinefest or are at least considering attending some day.
Offline
User avatar

FrankFay

  • Posts: 2783
  • Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:48 am
  • Location: Albany NY

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostFri Mar 02, 2012 1:38 pm

I attended that Cinefest and will be attending this one. I saw that Vitaphone program and did not care a damm if it was on video or not. It was a few shorts out of four days worth of entertainment- if you feel you were cheated then take the $100 bucks charged for event and calculate just how many films- many of them RARE films- you get for your money. At a conservative estimate of 50 films on the program that's a great value. If you're still angry about those Vitaphones on video come find me and I'll give you $10 bucks.
Eric Stott
Offline

Jay Schwartz

  • Posts: 116
  • Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:54 am
  • Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostFri Mar 02, 2012 2:07 pm

Wow, well there's a response! I never said I felt cheated and I harldy meant to suggest I was angry -- in fact I tried to make the opposite clear in my high praise of both Cinefest and the Vitaphone Project. I simply wanted to register my strong preference for seeing films on film. You've registered your strong non-preference -- that's fair, and that's what I'm trying to take a pulse of.

If the event ever became all DVD projection -- or even all super-high qulality D-Cinema projection (which is probably several evolutions of technology away from being affordable for events of this kind), I would have that much less interest in attending. However, I would still weigh all of the other great things about Cinefest in deciding whether to attend, and lately a big part of that is seeing and catching up with the many friends I've made over the years, including several of the organizers. Perhaps we'll even become friends. Regardless, no rebate is desired.
Offline
User avatar

FrankFay

  • Posts: 2783
  • Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:48 am
  • Location: Albany NY

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostFri Mar 02, 2012 2:17 pm

I let my style steamroller have a bit too much throttle...
Eric Stott
Offline
User avatar

Jim Reid

  • Posts: 1265
  • Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:16 am
  • Location: Dallas, Texas

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostFri Mar 02, 2012 2:21 pm

I also prefer film but if that's the only way something can be seen, I can accept that. I do get worried when there's more video than film.
Offline

shecky465

  • Posts: 17
  • Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:56 am

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostSat Mar 03, 2012 6:06 pm

Jay

Thinking about your comments on video night at Cinefest, let us not forget that it will only last for about three hours and during those hours, Cinefest will screen two lost 1929 sound films that only exist at the moment on video as works in progress. I have seen Mamba and the video is definitely in very rough shape at the moment. Hopefully one of the archivists that will be at the Cinefest screening will meet with Paul and Jonas and help to get it properly restored on film or video after seeing this imperfect presentation.

And the three short films that will also be screened only exist on video at this time

Is it the perfect presentation? No.

Are any of these films in any pipeline to be restored on film? No.

Bottom line, if you do not want to see some films that are not available in any other format, go have a drink at the bar and visit with friends.
Offline

charleskaley

  • Posts: 6
  • Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:25 pm

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 08, 2012 4:42 am

I keep hearing that the film "Mamba" is awaiting restoration. What is taking so long? Is there a need for
money? In that case why not sell DVD copies of the video version and use the money for the restoration?
The film is in the public domain so there should be no problem there and I am sure there will be plently of
people interested in seeing the film. :D

Of course, perhaps those who own the print want to keep it for themselves to profit on. Once the restoration
is done, it will perhaps stay locked in a vault and be shown once in awhile for a nice big rental fee. :roll:

Wouldn't surprise me :lol:
Offline

vitaphone

  • Posts: 256
  • Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:50 am
  • Location: New Jersey

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 08, 2012 4:36 pm

Lots of conclusions were jumped-to in the last post and not sure where they came from. But here is the correct info.

Restoration of MAMBA has been estimated to cost $100,000, conservatively, by the experts (including Bob Gitt who has done many early Technicolor restorations). So if charleskaley (great singer by the way) wants to pony that up, work can start. The reality is that getting that kind of money these days to do ANY feature is almost impossible. The fact MAMBA is PD makes is worse, not better. Were the $100K ever collected, once issued it could be copied and sold without penalty. Any of the big potential funders you could think of have been approached already over the last 2 years and no takers.

Where the idea came from that the fine people who found and did the DVD synch-up want to keep the film locked up is claerly disproven by the fact they have been doing the absolute opposite. I applaud them and their continued quest to get a proper restoration done.

And so should you.
Offline
User avatar

talkieking

  • Posts: 4
  • Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2009 4:28 pm
  • Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 08, 2012 5:14 pm

I think we have to clear up some things concerning Mamba at Cinefest.

The DVD that will be shown at Cinefest was made from the 35mm mute 1929 technicolor print. UCLA then kindly provided us with the soundtrack which then was synchronized to the film elements.

The “fuzzy colors” at the ASTOR screening last November are easily explained. The ASTOR screen was simply far too big, the image was pale and the film grain huge because of the image over representation.
Still, the overall reaction was one of astonishment of the production and the fact that the Melbourne audience was the first to see anything in 80 years, two points that 99% of them appreciated.

Yes, a 16mm print was struck at the Australian archive in 1988. It has never been seen. It is not what we drew the DVD from.

We appreciate that purists want pristine material. Only from the dedicated hard work of professionals comes expensive pristine results.

MAMBA restoration does not yet have a budget to provide it in a pristine format. All the work we have put in this and all costs so far have been from our savings. Now that we know MAMBA exists and is straight out of the vault, we are sure everyone interested would like to see it “as is” so when it is restored and showcased, they can all say that they saw it first and were 'there on the night' it was first shown. It is a bit like complaining that King Tut's treasures looked grimy when discovered and the world should have waited until someone polished them up.

We are so keen to show the work in progress at Cinefest that we have assembled the first possible 'look' and will bookend the screening with detail of where it was for 80 years and what happens next.

We are thrilled to contribute to Cinefest and the aesthetic it feeds. MAMBA is a banquet and as Aunty Mame said: and some poor suckers are starving to death". We could let the US starve for MAMBA but we want to serve an appetizer at the very least.

The current level of presentation is: See the journey, from mute tin can to eventual glorious 35mm. Today is the day after the tin can was opened. All MAMBA material is 35mm to digital DVD.
No 16mm is involved at any stage. Just to even get anything to show is the result of hundreds of hours of dedicated enthusiasm. To encounter sneering discontent is very ungrateful and ill informed to say the least.
Offline

Richard Finegan

  • Posts: 989
  • Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:09 am

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostFri Mar 09, 2012 12:53 am

Jonas,
Thanks for all the hard work in making this happen! I'm very much looking forward to seeing it and having you as a guest at Cinefest.

For anyone who still hasn't read all the fascinating details about the discovery of the print of MAMBA, here is where you need to go right now!:

http://talkieking.blogspot.com/2009/10/ ... found.html
Offline
User avatar

Ray Faiola

  • Posts: 666
  • Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:18 am
  • Location: Ellenville, NY

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostFri Mar 09, 2012 7:06 am

Just so you know, I spent hours SPLICING together dozens of Universal trailers from the 30's to the 60's for my fourth TRAILER MANIA presentation, "The A's, B's and C's of Universal". Every trailer has sprockets, I assure you! As does the wonderful HI DIDDLE DIDDLE which, if you haven't seen it, don't miss it!
Classic Film Scores on CD
http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com
Offline

earlytalkie

  • Posts: 145
  • Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:06 pm
  • Location: Bloomington, Illinois

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 15, 2012 6:04 pm

Hail to the Talkie King! I have been following your marvelous All-Talking-All Singing-All Dancing blog for some time but have been unable until now to tell you how excited I am at the prospect of sometime in the future being able to see Mamba. As for the controversey about the digital projection, as long as I could see and hear it properly, I wouldn't care if the film was played with the video on Beta tape and the audio coming through an old wire recorder. A film like this is a major discovery. Time and money will be needed to give it a proper full restoration. In the mean time, let us celebrate the discovery of yet another precious piece of cinema history. I cannot afford to attend Cinefest, but I would welcome an affordable DVD of even the unrestored version of this. I have been driven crazy by people who do not understand the time and money involved in film restoration. I post on Sitcoms On Line under my given name, Leslie Eckhardt, and try to explain this to the legions of fans of the 1960s TV show Hazel, which has just had it's second season released on DVD, not to the satisfaction of the people who have purchased the DVD which contains 32 color episodes which have not had a full frame-by-frame restoration. The company which puts this out is smaller than the majors and put out the best prints that they could afford. If you could see the hateful posts some of these people put on their website, it would make you cringe. The bottom line is that film preservation is expensive, and people should be grateful for people like you who put such a valiant effort to help preserve our cinema past. I am tantalized by the prospect of seeing Mamba. Perhaps, like one person suggested, you could put out a DVD of the film in it's present state. The monies from it's sale could perhaps be applied to the film's full restoration. Put me down for one of the first copies! Respectfully, Leslie Eckhardt
Offline
User avatar

Changsham

  • Posts: 595
  • Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:34 pm

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostThu Mar 15, 2012 8:52 pm

talkieking wrote:I think we have to clear up some things concerning Mamba at Cinefest.

The DVD that will be shown at Cinefest was made from the 35mm mute 1929 technicolor print. UCLA then kindly provided us with the soundtrack which then was synchronized to the film elements.

The “fuzzy colors” at the ASTOR screening last November are easily explained. The ASTOR screen was simply far too big, the image was pale and the film grain huge because of the image over representation.
Still, the overall reaction was one of astonishment of the production and the fact that the Melbourne audience was the first to see anything in 80 years, two points that 99% of them appreciated.

Yes, a 16mm print was struck at the Australian archive in 1988. It has never been seen. It is not what we drew the DVD from.

We appreciate that purists want pristine material. Only from the dedicated hard work of professionals comes expensive pristine results.

MAMBA restoration does not yet have a budget to provide it in a pristine format. All the work we have put in this and all costs so far have been from our savings. Now that we know MAMBA exists and is straight out of the vault, we are sure everyone interested would like to see it “as is” so when it is restored and showcased, they can all say that they saw it first and were 'there on the night' it was first shown. It is a bit like complaining that King Tut's treasures looked grimy when discovered and the world should have waited until someone polished them up.

We are so keen to show the work in progress at Cinefest that we have assembled the first possible 'look' and will bookend the screening with detail of where it was for 80 years and what happens next.

We are thrilled to contribute to Cinefest and the aesthetic it feeds. MAMBA is a banquet and as Aunty Mame said: and some poor suckers are starving to death". We could let the US starve for MAMBA but we want to serve an appetizer at the very least.

The current level of presentation is: See the journey, from mute tin can to eventual glorious 35mm. Today is the day after the tin can was opened. All MAMBA material is 35mm to digital DVD.No 16mm is involved at any stage. Just to even get anything to show is the result of hundreds of hours of dedicated enthusiasm. To encounter sneering discontent is very ungrateful and ill informed to say the least.

No attempt to denigrate the film here. Just telling like I saw it. I did post a review on here after I saw the film.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=10856&p=72053&hilit=mamba#p72053" target="_blank
Offline

earlytalkie

  • Posts: 145
  • Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:06 pm
  • Location: Bloomington, Illinois

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostFri Mar 16, 2012 6:59 am

Another idea would be to do a fund rasier. Sam Nelson, son of Rick Nelson is undertaking a fund raiser to restore all 435 (!) episodes of his Grandparents' "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet". I'm sure there are many cinema fans worldwide who would contribute to the complete restoration of Mamba.
Offline
User avatar

Christopher Jacobs

Moderator

  • Posts: 1940
  • Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:53 pm
  • Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostSun Mar 18, 2012 11:33 pm

Having seen MAMBA now, I can report that the DVD reproduced the rich two-color Technicolor hues beautifully, although the print was obviously well-worn. It was a good clear copy of the film as it survives, with smooth, natural motion, although obviously a standard-definition video version. A brief censored scene in the print was represented by a few random frames while the soundtrack contined to play. HIS CAPTIVE WOMAN (1929), another early sound film with picture and sound reunited only on video and which preceded the MAMBA screening at Cinefest, had a much sharper (and really beautiful) image but its transfer suffered from some unfortunate frame rate adjustment artifacts that caused a consistent jerkiness to the motion (similar to the effect you get changing NTSC to PAL and then that PAL conversion back to NTSC again).

While fans of early talkies, 2-color Technicolor, director Albert S. Rogell, and the various stars will definitely want to see MAMBA, the film will probably not have much appeal beyond that niche except for cultural historians looking for artifacts of early 20th century attitudes towards colonialism. Almost no character except Eleanor Boardman's unfortunate "bartered bride" is really likeable or even sympathetic although there are a few brief attempts to humanize the African natives while demonizing Jean Hersholt's brutal plantation owner. The film is competently made and not "bad" enough to be considered campy fun (except a couple of scenes), and not good enough (except for a decent action sequence at the end) to overcome the script's characterization problems. Still it's a fascinating curiosity that would be worth screening as a "prequel" to GOLDEN DAWN's bizarre musical treatment of similar material as an example of what that film's Technicolor would have looked like if it had survived.
Offline

Richard Finegan

  • Posts: 989
  • Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:09 am

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostTue Mar 20, 2012 3:07 am

talkieking wrote:Tiffany Pictures all talking, all color drama Mamba, starring Jean Hersholt, Eleanor Boardman and Ralph Forbes will be shown in the US for the first time in over 80 years. The event will take place at Cinefest 32, Syracuse, New York, March 15-18 2012.
The re-discoverers Paul Brennan (Aus) and Jonas Nordin (Swe) will be flown in especially to present Mamba at the festival.
Hope to see you all there!



Jonas,
I very much enjoyed and appreciated seeing MAMBA.
And spending so much time chatting with (and learning so much from) you and Paul has to be a favorite memory of all my 20 (so far) Cinefests.
I hope you guys can come back and visit us again at a future Cinefest.
Offline
User avatar

s.w.a.c.

  • Posts: 1070
  • Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 2:27 pm
  • Location: The Land of Evangeline

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostWed Mar 21, 2012 3:39 pm

Paul was a very engaging speaker, and it'd be great to have him back to present some Australian films! (I was the one who clapped when he asked if anyone had been to Perth, my girlfriend's a Perthie and proud of it, and my visit there was nothing short of marvelous, I'd move there in a heartbeat).
Twinkletoes wrote:Oh, ya big blister!
Offline

Tastypotpie

  • Posts: 105
  • Joined: Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:50 am
  • Location: Indianapolis

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostWed Mar 21, 2012 5:26 pm

Offline
User avatar

Brooksie

  • Posts: 1854
  • Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 6:41 pm
  • Location: Portland, Oregon via Sydney, Australia

Re: Mamba (1930) at Cinefest 32, March 15-18 2012

PostWed Mar 21, 2012 8:06 pm

Another article appeared in the same publication yesterday, although in a part of the newspaper that doesn't appear online. It dealt mainly with the introduction given by the Australian who rediscovered the film. There was a nice picture of him with Leonard Maltin.

Return to Talkie News

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests